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Messi sorry to see Neymar banned

Lionel Messi has spoken of his disappointment that Barcelona team-mate Neymar will play no further part in the Copa America for Brazil.

The striker was handed a four-match suspension by CONMEBOL after being sent off following Brazil’s 1-0 defeat to Colombia, Neymar launching a verbal attack on the referee.

Messi admitted the decision to hand the 23-year-old a ban would be a blow for Brazil’s chances, but also believes it is a shame for the tournament to be deprived of one South America’s top players.

“I do not want to comment on Neymar. He’s a friend,” Messi said after Argentina beat Jamaica 1-0 on Saturday.

“I regret the punishment he was given and that he cannot participate any further in the Copa America. 

“He is a very important player for Brazil. I know what it means to them to have him on the field.”

Argentina top Group B after their victory in Vina del Mar, a Gonzalo Higuain strike securing their quarter-final place.

Sun 21 Jun, 2015
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